By Luke Thomas
August 21, 2011
It may be hard to imagine US Senator Dianne Feinstein and former Mayor Willie Brown unwittingly doing the bidding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in their support of interim Mayor Ed Lee’s mayoral candidacy, but such a possibility would be abhorrent to voters at a time when the United States is suffering economically while China is thriving.
However ludicrous such a conspiratorial notion may sound, former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin believes San Francisco voters should be concerned of the possible influence of international politics in this year’s race for San Francisco mayor.
In an August 17 article published by the Epoch Times, Peskin says, foolishly or courageously, what others have said privately but are afraid to say publicly – that Chinatown ringmaster Rose Pak is working on behalf of the interests of the Chinese government.
“There are … individuals, but behind those individuals are actually entities that are more powerful than those individuals,” Peskin told the Epoch Times. “It is really about political influence and how political influence works—and that even includes working with and representing the interest of an outside government in San Francisco.”
“I am happy to name those names,” Pekskin added. “They include the People’s Republic of China.”
“I believe that what we are witnessing is that Ed Lee is a puppet who is controlled by Ms. Pak and Mr. Brown and the money influences that they represent,” Peskin added. “This flies in the face of those fundamental American, democratic values.”
Though Peskin does not cite concrete evidence to support his claim of PRC influence over Lee’s campaign, he points to the number of trips Lee has taken to the PRC with Pak. “The connections are deep,” Peskin said. “Look at the number of trips that Mr. Lee has taken to the People’s Republic of China with Ms. Pak—many over the years.”
Lee is not the only City Hall lever to have been courted and influenced by all-expenses paid trips to China. Former Mayor Gavin Newsom, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, Willie Brown and Peskin, himself, have all been whisked off to China in the lap of luxury courtesy of business leaders and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, headed by Pak, to solidify business deals and sister-city relationships and to meet with government officials. Pak was also a central figure in organizing opposition to the PRC’s most threatened foe, the Falun Gong spiritual group, in its denied 2004 permit request to participate in Chinese New Year parades.
For her part, Pak has consistently denied any ties with Beijing.
As for Lee’s ties to the PRC? In 2008, Lee was one of 41 torchbearers selected out of 543 applications by a Beijing Olympics selection committee to carry the Olympic Torch through San Francisco.
And though it was a matter of Chinese-American pride, Pak invited Chinese Consul General Zhansheng Gao to attend Lee’s swearing in as interim mayor in January. Gao also joined Pak and Lee during a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy on July 5 at City Hall.